The Burnaby Lakers are not dead yet, although it looked very much like they would be following the second period of game 5 in their WLA semi final series against the Shamrocks. Down 6-3 after 40 minutes they outscored the Rocks 5-0 in the final 20 minutes to come away with an 8-6 victory. Victoria still holds a 3-2 lead in the series with game 6 returning to their home floor Sunday.
Aaron Bold and Eric Penney were the starting goaltenders for the Shamrocks and Lakers respectively. Victoria opened the scoring but not until 13:32 of the opening frame as Corey Small fired a shot from outside the dotted line that found the top corner behind Penney. The Rocks opened up a 2-goal lead with a shorthanded goal off transition and the stick of Steve Priolo as Bold got the ball to him and he made no mistake at 16:59. Burnaby managed to get one back before the period ended, Dane Stevens shoveling the ball over the line from the doorstep at 18:38. Shots on goal were 21-9 in favour of Burnaby but they were down a goal where it counted.
The Lakers tied things up 2:42 into the middle period, Eli McLaughlin connecting with a quick stick from the side of the crease on the power play but the Shamrocks roared back with 4 straight to put the Lakers’ season on the ropes. First it was Evan Messenger walking around the net and putting the ball behind Penney at 6:04 with a delayed penalty about to be called. Casey Jackson found twine at 8:17 with a quick stick from the side, a shot from almost behind the extended goal line to make it 4-2 Victoria. Another delayed penalty and Victoria got the extra attacker on the floor as Small picked up his second of the night at 9:05 from outside the dotted line. Joe Resetarits added another at 13:07 on a hard, low shot from outside the dotted line and it was 6-2 Shamrocks. Before the period ended, Robert Church answered, shooting from well out to the back of the net at 18:04. This period the Rocks outshot the Lakers 15-8 but they were up by 3 going to the dressing room.
That late goal and the fact that the Lakers could be eliminated in their home rink, obviously lit a fire under them as they scored 5 unanswered goals, including 3 from Scott Jones beginning at 4:27 as he got to the net. While Victoria had been adept at keeping shooters to the outside, Jones went in again at 11:44 on a carbon copy, perhaps even in the crease. At 12:50 Church picked up his second of the night and the game was suddenly tied 6-5. That goal came with Penney on the bench for the extra attacker. Jones collected his hat trick marker at 15:31, again right in on top of goaltender Bold as it gave the Lakers the first and only lead of the game. Unfortunately for the Rocks it would hold up and Tyler Digby came up with a late power play goal, tallying at 17:01.
Victoria’s offense did not have anything going in the final 20 minutes. Were they trying to sit on the lead? Don’t know for sure but Burnaby certainly pulled out all the stops with their season on the line. The Lakers outshot the Rocks 14-8 in the period and 43-32 overall.
Corey Small had 2 goals and an assist for the Shamrocks while Joe Resetarits and Casey Jackson each had a goal and 2 helpers with singles coming from Evan Messenger and Steve Priolo. Aaron Bold made 35 saves to earn third star honours.
For Burnaby Robert Church had a 5-point night with 2 goals and 3 assists. Scott Jones had the hat trick as they were named first and second star respectively.
The series moves back to the Q Centre Sunday at 6:00 pm. The Shamrocks can still move into the final with a victory on their home floor. Should the Lakers win, it will be a winner-take-all game 7 on Tuesday on the mainland.